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Morning take: Ray Rice is ready

Here are the most interesting stories Wednesday in the AFC North:

Morning take: Rice isn't playing around. He's in a contract year and the Ravens should be strong contenders, making this a very important season for various reasons.

  • Will Auburn quarterback Cam Newton be back in Paul Brown Stadium. ... as a member of the Carolina Panthers in the preseason?

Morning take: It's very possible. Newton is up for consideration with the Panthers at No. 1 and the Bengals at No. 4. That doubles the chances of Newton playing in Cincinnati this summer.

Morning take: Smith could be an option for the Browns if he drops to the second round. Smith has first-round talent but comes with some character concerns.

  • Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor visited with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday.

Morning take: Taylor, at 340 pounds, could be an option to learn behind nose tackle Casey Hampton. The Steelers need to get younger on the defensive line.